“RECKLESS GIVING” In the Upcoming New Year

MARK 14:3-9 (King James Bible):

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One my favorite things to do is to activate my imagination while writing a script for a play, using stories in Scripture as the base.  The story in the above verses was no exception.  So let me start by SETTING THE SCENE.

I can only imagine how the TABLE CONVERSATION must have transpired.

LAZARUS speaking to Simon the Leper:

‘I’m thanking you for allowing me to come in your house.  I can’t think of any other place I would rather be–but to be here with you!  And since I’m her Scaly, I want to ask you a question, tell me–how was life before you met Christ?’

SIMON THE LEPER must have said,

‘Let me tell you that nobody would talk to me.  In fact, my life was on a narrow ledge.  I have no relationships or reputation with other people.  I only hang around with other people who were just like me.  And then one day, I heard that this Wonder Worker, JESUS, was coming through town and that He worked the night shift and that He made house calls–and all I know is that He spoke to me and my skin began to transform, like the skin on a newborn baby…You’ve asked about MT encounter Lazarus, what about you?  How did it feel being dead, sleeping in the grave?  How did that feel?’

The SCENE as they exchanged stories together:

  • The DISCIPLES sat there at the u-shaped table…
  • MARTHA was serving as Martha always does.

And Conspicuously Absent…

Martha’s sister, MARY, as usual.  MARY only had TWO cameo appearances prior to this one.

  • One, when Jesus visits the household of MARY and she sits at His feet.
  • And then again in the Gospel of John, chapter 11, when she rushes Jesus and says, ‘Jesus, please come and save my brother.’

And here in this passage in Mark; MARY does something out of the ordinary–

  • Because if you want to get what you’ve never had, you have to do something that you’ve never done.
  • God works at His best when we are bold enough to step outside of the box of human conformity.
  • If you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always gotten.
  • Staying in the box of conformity and a narrow mindset doesn’t impress a God Who already declared that He’s more than enough!

The Extravagance of God’s GLORY is Connected to The Recklessness & Liberality of My Giving”  [Quote by Kraig Pullam, Pastor/Chaplain]

LEARNING HOW TO MODEL THE COST OF MARY’S GIFT –

Mark 14:3:  “a woman came with an alabaster jar of ointment (perfume) of pure nard, very costly and precious; and she broke the jar and poured [the perfume] over His head.”

In my study this week, I found that MARY is mentioned 3 times in Scripture and each time she’s found at Jesus’ feet!

feet

  1.  LISTENING.  Luke 10:39.
  2.  SORROWING.  John 11:32.
  3.  WORSHIPING.  John 12:3.

And at His feet she found BLESSING; she brought her burdens, her cares, her fears, her anxiety, and she GAVE at His feet her best.

Looking At What Mary Gave (Verse 3):

In Matthew (26:7), it is called “very precious” or “costly” fragrant oil–“alabaster jar” or “flask” is made of marble and very expensive itself; breaking it was a sign that ALL was to be used.  The custom in the East was, if a glass was used by a distinguished guest, it was broken so that it would never again be touched by the hand of any lesser person.

So Mary was giving Christ her BEST and her ALL!

“Ointment (perfume) of pure nard, very costly…”

VERSE 5 teaches the value of the gift was “more than 300 denarii”…almost a year’s salary in the 1st Century.  For example, it was estimated that the 5,000 men, plus women and children, could have been fed with 2/3 of this amount [Mark 6:37; 200 denarii].

Mary with her lavish heart and hand–not cautious in giving, but RECKLESS!

QUESTION:  When was the last time YOUR GIVING could be regarded as “RECKLESS”?

When I say “reckless,” it’s not the value of our gifts which He regards, but the LOVE of the heart which gives them!  LOVE is not concerned to see how little it can decently give.  There seems to be a RECKLESSNESS IN LOVE which refuses to count the cost.

This woman acted on the impulse of LOVE because she knew in her heart of hearts that if she didn’t do it then, she would never do it at all.

Mary in the moment acted with absolutely controlled adoration for her Lord and Savior; she lost all sense of restraint and economy.

THE TRUE WORSHIPER & STEWARD GIVES JESUS WHATEVER HE HAS…knowing it is nothing compared to what has been received from Him.

MARY had lost herself in Jesus and as a result, wasn’t even conscious of others or her surroundings in her giving.

Our GIVING should always reflect the gratitude–our LOVE–toward the object of our affection.

After 52 years of marriage to the same woman, each year my GIVING daily is the reflection of my love towards her.  It is never about the dollar value of the gift.  It’s doing the unexpected!  It’s even EXTRAVAGANT at times!!

Extravagant Giving is what you should desire to give toward God because your desire for God is to be extravagant with YOU!

Look at Sis. Mary and her commitment–EXPENSIVE OINTMENT/PURE NARD.

– she didn’t just sprinkle a little bit of ointment on Jesus,

– she didn’t just take a small portion of the perfume out and place that on Jesus,

– she didn’t just measure it out so carefully, no, she POURED it out on Jesus.

IN OUR SERVING THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, WE DON’T MEASURE IT OUT.

If you are going to SERVE, don’t just see how little you can do for Him, or how little you can GIVE to Him and get by.

If you’re going to SERVE THE LORD JESUS, then POUR IT OUT upon Him-

  • Give Him ALL you got!
  • Give it ALL you can give it, because that’s the kind of SERVICE that Jesus demands!

For some, our GIVING has become conformed to our level of COMFORT–COMFORT GIVING.

  • We tip God (the better our week went, the bigger the tip!).
  •  We tease God (make God think we’re about to give Him part of us–and then, change our mind).
  • We trick God (we give to Him because He has something we want–and we at least have enough sense to know, He’s in the BLESSING business–so we’ll give to Him because we want a house, we want a car, we want a man, we want a woman…you get the idea).

You see, when you TREASURE Him–He becomes the FIRST thing that crosses your mind beginning every day!

When JESUS is your TREASURE–

Your GIVING is not limited or relegated to what is convenient for you; but by what God has not only required of you–but you want to give Him even more because He means just that much to you.

When you TREASURE Him–

Then your LIFE connects to the law of mutual dependency–where He gives me “treasure” so that I can break whatever it is that can release the “treasure” He gave me–so that I can give it back to Him–and the MIRACLE in MY LIFE is realized as He POURS His purpose in me through ABUNDANCE–because I was willing to POUR MY HEART into Him through my obedience.  I hope all this makes sense to you.

See, when we are POURING, then you recognize that YOUR CONDITION ISN’T YOUR CONCLUSION!

–Whatever you SOW, you shall also REAP!

  • IF you sowed during affliction, you shall reap!
  • IF you’ve sown during pain, you shall reap joy!
  • IF you sow in tears, you shall reap in laughter!
  • IF you sow when you didn’t have anything, you shall reap and have it all!
  • IF you sow when you were last, you shall reap when God makes you first!
  • IF you sow during your times of darkness, you shall reap during the light!

SO, WHAT WAS MARY DOING?

Mary, in a real sense, was in WORSHIP.  To her, it was worth it to POUR OUT ALL of what she had upon the Most High God.

“WORSHIP” as you might know, and our word “WORTH” are closely connected.  In fact, the Old English spelling of worship is “worthship”  [More Than Worship, It’s Worthship, Craig T. Owens June 24, 2010].

WORSHIP is realizing the “worth-ship” of a thing or a person.

The QUESTION becomes, “How much is JESUS worth to us?”  I can tell you what He’s WORTH to me–but “How much is He WORTH to you?”

  • It’s not a WASTE to pour your life out on Jesus.  HE’S WORTH IT!
  • It’s not a WASTE to wake up in the morning and enter holy conversation with a loving God.  HE’S WORTH IT!
  • It’s not a WASTE to come to the Lord’s house and drive 5 minutes or even 5 hours–to come into this house to gather in His name and WORSHIP Him.

What makes GOD worthy is because He is WORTH IT!

— You kiss up yo your boss, but is he or she worth it?

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— You work so that you can make more to impress everybody around you, but are they worth it?

— You sacrifice your time because you want to get bigger and finer things accomplished–but are those bigger and finer things worth it?

My ANSWER is… NO!

— Your boss didn’t die for you.

— Your paycheck isn’t what makes your heart tremble or make the sun from light you see every morning shine.

— The bigger and finer things won’t answer you when you PRAY about your sickness or your fractured marriage, broken relationships or that prodigal child who strayed from home.

You better LEARN like Mary did; how to build your hope on things eternal while holding on to God’s unchanging hands.  All because His hand is the ONLY hand big enough to give you an 100 fold return on time, talent and resources that you have already given by Him.

A Critique of the Crowd’s Stupidity –

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There will always be people who identify themselves as followers of Christ Jesus–who say that they are friends of the kingdom, but in reality, they are enemies.

There will always be people who tell you, ‘Now it doesn’t take all of that!’

There will always be people when it comes to the giving of your time, talent and treasure–‘God understands’ (Well if God understood, then He wouldn’t have told me to do it!).

Let me just say here, that GOD’S WORD IS FLAWLESS and it is the FINAL AUTHORITY, period!

The WORD is the WORD and there will always be people who will try to best God’s Word.

— Either you BELIEVE that God was playing when He said you sow what you reap or you don’t.

— Either you BELIEVE that God was serious when He said present your body as a living sacrifice or you don’t.

— Either you BELIEVE that God owns it all or you don’t.

— And when it comes to STEWARDSHIP, you are either choosing true or false; multiple choice isn’t an option.

Watch the TEXT:  VERSE 4

“To what purpose was the ointment thus wasted?”

Now I thought it was interesting here, to know who was asking the question.

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JUDAS’ criticism here sounds ‘spiritual’ and even though Judas spoke out, the DISCIPLES were “indignant”–“they answered and reproved her.”

JUDAS is a reminder to ALL of us every time there’s criticism of Christian generosity, that somewhere behind the CRITICISM there may be a JUDAS.

I don’t know about what your thinking while reading this account, but I think Mary must have been hurt, confused with emotions running wild.  I know I would have been.

The text doesn’t say it–but Mary must have thought in her mind, ‘Why are they criticizing ME?  They are the ones who are supposed to be His disciples!’

Adopting the Commendation of Jesus’ Word.

The DISCIPLES became “indignant”  (vs. 4).  In the Greek, it’s the sound of snorting horses.

And Jesus responds to the “snorting” with COMPASSION in His word.  The word COMPASSION means to step into someone else’s skin.

Jesus steps into her skin in a moment to empathize with her pain at the insult of their response.  And Christ responds in VERSE 6 by saying,

“Let her alone; why are you troubling her?”

We know that He is addressing ALL of the disciples, but more specifically, He’s addressing JUDAS.  It was Mary’s LOVE that motivated her to give her best; but JUDAS couldn’t take it.

MARY’S REWARD for her sacrificial gift was a moment of COMMENDATION.  

She couldn’t be a Pastor, or a Disciple, and she couldn’t write a book of the New Testament.  All she could do was this:  “She has done a good and beautiful thing to Me [praiseworthy and noble].”

And that’s all the LORD expects of us.  Jesus praised the LOVING NATURE of her GIFT.  She had done what she could and He knew it was done from LOVE!

Our GIFTS should be a SURRENDERED GIFT –

When we GIVE of our talents, our time, our resources–it shouldn’t be a GIFT that’s pulled out of you.  It should be a GIFT that you WILLINGLY surrender (Romans 12:1) and that “surrender” should be because you love Him.

ILL –my daddy got me a pinata.  I kept swinging.  He said, ‘Son…the name of the game is you have to break it; but you have to break it in the right place!’

MARY had been broken in the right place.  That’s why she could give what she had!

Some of you who are reading this–God is breaking you!  But He wants to get you in the right place!!!

  • ATTITUDE needs to be changed.
  • GRATITUDE needs to be altered.
  • CONDUCT needs to be modified.
  • CHARACTER needs to be sharpened.
  • STINGINESS needs to be destroyed.

GOD is breaking me as I write these words and He’s breaking you in the right place as you read this blog.  

AND JACOB WRESTLED!

Do you remember the bible story when JACOB wrestled with the “angel of the broken-vesselsLord’?  That angel said, ‘Let me go…for the day is breaking.’  But JACOB said…’I won’t let you go until you BLESS me.’  And all we know is the morning came and JACOB was on the ground.  But now he had a different walk.  Because when he takes a step forward, he discovers that he’s been changed.

“You can’t be BLESSED until you’ve been broken!”

 


CREDITS:

Bible Dictionary:  VINE’S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY

PHOTOS:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  King James Version (KJV); New International Version (NIV); Amplified bible (AMP).

Don’t Get Stuck In A “WRINGER”!

Zechariah 3:1-7  (MSG):

(1-2)  Next, the Messenger-Angel showed me the high priest, Joshua.  He was standing before God’s Angel where the Accuser showed up to accuse him.  Then GOD said to the Accuser, “I, GOD rebuke you, Accuser!  I rebuke you and choose Jerusalem. Surprise!  Everything is going up in flames, but I reach in and pull out Jerusalem!”

(3-4)  Joshua, standing before the Angel, was dressed in dirty clothes.  The Angel spoke to his attendants, “Get him out of those filthy clothes,” and then said to Joshua, “Look, I’ve stripped you of your sin and dressed you up in clean clothes.”  I spoke up and said, “How about a clean new turban for his head also?”  And they did it–put a clean new turban on his head. Then they finished dressing him, with GOD’s Angel looking on.

(6-7)  GOD’s Angel then charged Joshua, “Orders from GOD-OF-THE-ANGEL-ARMIES:  ‘If you live the way I tell you and remain obedient in my service, then you’ll make the decisions around here and oversee my affairs.  And all my attendants standing here will be at your service.’

The "Little Old Wringer" Washing Maching
The “Little Old Wringer” Washing Machine

 

I still remember a little old wringer type washing machine my mother would used every Monday when I was a child.  MONDAY, was WASH DAY. Period!

It was an all-day ritual; washing clothes, wringing them as dry as possible, and hanging the wash outside on a clothesline.

I know most of you would wonder how anyone could remember that far back.  Wasn’t that before the days of radio?  No, it wasn’t that far back but it was before the days of 4- track and 8- track players, cassettes, color TV (most couldn’t afford a black & white TV), and the internet.

It was the early to mid-1950’s, when I remember mom pulling that old wringer washer out from the closet beneath the stairway, then pushing it on its wheels into the tiny apartment kitchen.  What a job wash-day must have been.

I was too young to do much work but, I’m certain that I was a drain on her energy level as she had to watch me too.

There’s one image that still remains about that old washing machine.  The image of those flat pressed clothes as they came out of the wringer and into the clothes basket before hanging them outside to dry.

And on one of those days, in my enthusiasm to help mom on wash-day, I decided I could and would…feed the clean, wet sheets through the wringer.  My thoughts must have been”,  I wonder if those sheets are in any pain?”  

And at that moment of “wondering”, being somewhat distracted, I inadvertently let my fingers and hand follow the sheets through the wringer. The clothes weren’t the only thing in pain.  By the time my mom could release the rollers, she found me up to my elbow, with my little toes barely touching the floor–frozen in time as tears flowed down my cheeks.

To this day, I still think of that old wringer washer and how much of our lives are spent going through a wringer, and I can definitely say…it does hurt when you’re going through it.

The problem is, if you didn’t put those DIRTY CLOTHES through the process, of washing and wringing them out at regular intervals, then the clothes would become useless, or, if you did wear them anyway, no one would want to be around you very much.

IN THE OLD TESTAMENT BOOK OF THE PROPHET, ZECHARIAH 3:1-3:

Who Was JOSHUA?

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him.  The Lord said to Satan,  “The Lord rebuke you, Satan!  The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you!  Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”  Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel.  (NIV translation)

The GARMENTS of the High Priest
The GARMENTS of the High Priest

At the end of the Babylonian Captivity, Nehemiah and a number of Jews were released and sent back to REBUILD Jerusalem and the Temple.

At the end of the work, one of the HIGH PRIESTS who ministered in that rebuilt temple was JOSHUA.

This man, Joshua, was typical of the priesthood and its condition in Israel at the time.  He had little or no rule over his own house.

His sons had married outside the faith, polluting the nation with idolatry.  And, because of Joshua’s SIN, the sin of his family, Zechariah was given a VISION that spoke of Joshua’s life.

The Similarities…

But in a greater sense, that VISION spoke of the condition of all of us.  JOSHUA may have worn the outward robes that signified righteousness and holiness, the ephod of the High Priest, the golden mitre on his head with the words, “HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD” on a gold band around it, and the robe he wore under the outer garment made of pure, white linen.  But Joshua’s life was far from the holiness he tried to display to those around him.

God Knew Joshua’s Heart…and so did Satan

We see in Zechariah’s vision, Joshua, Israel’s High Priest standing before the courts of Heaven; standing before the Angel of the Lord, which is no angel at all, but is one of the Old Testaments names given to Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Angel of God’s very presence.

Here then is an unholy priest standing before a Holy God in pure guilt and shame from the SIN in his life.

His self-righteousness was shown for what it was now–“FILTH!”:

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.  No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins.  Yet, O Lord, you are our Father.  We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand”  (Isaiah 64:6-8 NIV).

It wasn’t bad enough Joshua stood there in sin and shame facing almighty God, but he had some company.  Right beside Joshua, on his right hand, was the one that Revelation 12:10 calls “the accuser of the brethren”, Satan.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need the devil pointing out my sins to God.  I do a good enough job on my own to condemn myself.

Nevertheless, there he was, Satan, standing there with his outstretched pointing finger, accusing Joshua right in his face–every failure, every sin, every doubt, every fear, and every disobedience before the Bar.  He was there for one purpose only.

Satan’s One Purpose…stealing this soul from God’s hand…

Destroying any chance of Joshua’s survival of High Priest in the land, but of Israel’s right to be a nation.  Satan’s PURPOSE was to steal, kill, and destroy Joshua and Israel once and for all (John 10:10-a).

The Evidence…

Satan had eye-witness accounts, even though he didn’t need any, because God already knew how sinful that Joshua was.

As Joshua stood there that day, his filthy garments and the SIN that was on him was evident.  The evidence was so outstanding in court against Joshua, Satan must have believed he had this case in the bag.  CONVICTED!!!  That’s how we are in our own righteousness too.

Right now, before the court in Heaven, the “accuser of the brethren” is standing there pointing his finger of accusation, making known every sin that you and I commit.  He has proof from the way we are dressed–in filthy clothing of the flesh that stinks to ‘high heaven’ with B.O. (‘bad odor’) of sin.

Satan is still attempting to snatch us from the very presence of God.  What a terrible thought it is, to be that close to God’s holiness, yet never know Heaven’s glories.

That’s what it will be like for those who will face God on judgement day without JESUS in their heart.  So close, and yet so far away.

Are you wrestling with sin in your life?

Do you wrestle with the “accusing finger” of the devil, who says to you…”You don’t PRAY ENOUGH, STUDY ENOUGH, AREN’T COMMITTED ENOUGH…and there is no way you will ever be “GOOD ENOUGH” or “HOLY ENOUGH” or “RIGHTEOUS ENOUGH”; at least not in your own power.

The apostle Paul said in Romans 3:10,  “There is no one righteous, not even one;”

So, is there any chance we can be holy and righteous…any way that our filthy garments of sin can be taken away and new clothes place upon us making us more presentable to our Holy God?

Yes, there certainly is, but not by might or power of our own hand.  Too many people keep trying to make themselves more presentable–righteous and holy–and all it does is backfire, proving themselves more sinful and unholy; back through the “wringer” and squeezed once more.

Most of the time we are sorry for being “filthy” but refuse to allow the cleansing POWER OF THE BLOOD OF JESUS to wash away the stain of sin. Instead, we try to find ways to soothe the guilt and pain:

—  We may continue in our sin but we will at the same time, try to spend more time in prayer.

—  We get down on the scrub board, turn on the agitator, bounce around for a while, hoping that somehow what we do… will play a part in our depth of sin.

We can cover the outside with good works (“whitewashing” – Matt. 23:27; Acts 23:3) all we want, but if JESUS isn’t in your heart…the center of your life, then you are still clothed in “filthy rags” of self-righteousness and that’s how you will stand before God.

A WHITER, FLUFFIER LOOK!
“A WHITER, FLUFFIER LOOK!”

Every time we try these the little ‘gimmicks’ ,trying to cover over the iniquities, we’re actually throwing ourselves in the washing machine ( “soft water makes a whiter, fluffier wash”), agitate the contents for a while and go through the WRINGER one more time…and find ourselves  come out, still as filthy, or find ourselves up to our elbows, caught once more in the wringer with our toes barely touching the ground.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t like going through my mother’s WRINGER when I was young, nor going through GOD’S WRINGER now.

HOLINESS:

In the Hebrew, the word is gadash, and in the Greek, the word is hagios (Footnote [i]).  Their similarity in meaning is almost identical:  “Those persons and things that are “holy” in the sense of being SET APART for divine redemptive purposes.”

We should be tired of trying to be holy enough or righteous enough.  I want to have TRUE RIGHTEOUSNESS!  I want to live in TRUE HOLINESS!

BUT HOW?

Looking back in Zechariah 3:2-5, Joshua represented you and I.

I love the way God answers Satan.  It’s as though God says to the devil,  SHUT UP! I AM GOD!  I am the One who has chosen this one, who stands before Me!  [Put your name in the place of the word “JERUSALEM”.  The meaning is still the same].

God saved us! God chose us!

God did the choosing and He won’t let go; no man can pluck us out of His hand!  Yes, Joshua had on filthy clothing!

— You and I have no righteousness with ourselves.

— We have no holiness within us.

— We have no power to deliver our soul from sin…

BUT JESUS DOES!

God speaks out to the angels who had gathered around…

Listening and watching for His commands-GET HIM OUT OF THOSE FILTHY CLOTHES!  GIVE HIM A NEW GARMENT AND A CHANGE OF HEART!  CLOTHE HIM IN RIGHTEOUSNESS!

Joshua didn’t deserve to be clothed in righteousness but neither are we.  None of us will ever be WORTHY enough.

It has nothing to do with WORTHINESS but everything to do with FOLLOWING JESUS, allowing Him to give us His righteousness by His own choice.

GOD took away Joshua’s SIN, then gave him robes of righteousness–placed a pure mitre of white linen upon his head with the words, “HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD,” written across them.

JESUS stood by us when the work was finished because, when He purchased our salvation on the cross, His work was completed.  In other words, GOD takes away our sin, washes them away in the Blood of the Lamb, while clothing us in RIGHTEOUSNESS for His own name’s sake and changing our way of life and thinking while writing His Holiness upon our lives.

Zechariah 3:6-7, then says,

God’s Angel then charged Joshua,  “Orders from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:  ‘If you live the way I tell you and remain obedient in My service then you’ll make the decisions around here and oversee My affairs.  And all My attendants standing here will be at your service.

I love all the “IF s” and the “AND s” in Scripture.  “IF” we will walk in the ways of the LORD, keep His commandments, obey His Word, judge righteous judgements, not judge one another, and keep close to JESUS…then God promises we would walk among those who stood by.

WHO ARE THOSE WHO STOOD BY?

The Holy angels of Glory!  We will be there, right along side of Michael and Gabriel, the archangels.  We will walk and talk with JESUS, living eternally in the presence of our Father God without filthy garments but clothed in the pure righteousness and holiness.

HOW DO WE RECEIVE THESE CLEAN, PURE WHITE LINEN CLOTHING – THE ROBES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS?

HOW DO WE GET RID OF THAT OLD, GREASY, FILTHY BASEBALL CAP WE’VE BEEN WEARING DAILY AND REPLACE IT WITH A NEW TURBAN WITH THE WORDS “HOLY UNTO THE LORD”?

HOW ARE OUR SINS ALL BE WASHED AWAY?

By ACCEPTING and CONFESSING that Jesus as your Lord and Savior–SACRIFICED for your sins.  By BELIEVING in His death, burial and resurrection.  By BELIEVING that He is ALIVE FOREVER, and by ALLOWING HIM to RULE and REIGN in your life.

So the question becomes, are we willing to allow Jesus to enter our lives and give Him the control, or are we ready to go through the WRINGER one more time?

The choice is yours!  What will it be? 

 

Footnotes and Credits:

[i]  Definition of Holy or Holiness is from EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF BIBLE WORDS by Stephen D. Renn.

High Priest Photo by http://www.robertmock@biblesearchers.com

Other Photos by Photo Pin.

Referenced Bible Translations:

The Message Bible; The NIV Bible; Amplified Bible. 

 

 

Living Like KINGS In This Life!

ROMANS 5:17  (KJV):

“For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”

When I study and meditate on God’s Word through the Scriptures, I love to look at bible verses in different translations.  It gives on perspective.  Although  in my library, I am fortunate to possess many different translations to compare, I also use the Internet to broaden my search, sites such as Bible Gateway or Bible Hub.

So in saying, let me give you a translation, of the same verse, from the Weymouth New Testament:

Romans 5:17  (WNT):

“For if, through the transgression of the one individual Death made use of the one individual to seize the sovereignty, all the more shall those who receive God’s overflowing grace and gift of righteousness reign as kings in Life through the one individual, Jesus Christ.”

THE IMPACT OF GOD’S WORD:

The apostle Paul, who wrote the Letter to the Roman church–inspired by the Holy Spirit–gives us a comparative look:

1.  The CONDEMNING ACT of Adam–

2.  The REDEMPTIVE ACT of Christ Jesus.

Adams sin (transgression), brought universal death to all of mankind (Romans 3:10, 23) when he accepted Satan’s lie:  “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5).

However, Jesus’ sacrifice brought salvation to those who believe (John 3:16).  Jesus’ one act of redemption was immeasurably greater than Adam’s one-act of condemnation.

HOW MUCH IS “ABUNDANCE”?

Romans 5:17 b…all the more shall those who receive God’s abundance of grace…

Did we get just enough to get by when we were saved by believing in Jesus?  Is that all there is?  Did we get just a teacup full of “grace”?

As some of you who follow my blog know, my favorite verse in the New Testament is John 10:10:

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.  I [JESUS] came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”  [Amplified Bible]

Having “ABUNDANCE” till it overflows!

Given without a hitch, without strings attached, without measurement.  It’s like the Eveready Battery commercial: It keeps on giving every moment of the day throughout our entire lives!

Unlike Adam’s Act In Genesis…

Christ’s Acthas and will–accomplish exactly what He intended.  He called us as Christians TO “REIGN!” : That is a period during which something or somebody is dominant or powerful, has authority.

GOD’S ORIGINAL PLAN:

Genesis 1:27, 28, 30 b:

[ 27]  “So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them.    [28] And God blessed them and said to them,  Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion (authority, dominance, power) over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth.  [30] –to everything in which there is the breath of life–“

“Reigning in Life” (Romans 5:17):

Living like Kings
Living like Kings

The word “REIGN”  here, means to reign in life as a KING (not just in the masculine sense), to have kingly rule…possess kingly dominion as God originally intended before Adam’s act

Reign in circumstances…

Based on the authority of God’s Word, you are destined to “reign in life” as a king; “kingly dominion” over all your challenges and circumstances.  The time has come for us to stop “ABDICATING” our right to rule in life!  Remember, God has positioned us through His Son, to reign!

Ephesians 2:4-6  (AMP):

[4]  But God–so rich is He in His mercy!  Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us. [5] Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses,  He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are SAVED (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation).  [6] And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the anointed One).

NOTICE VERSE 4:

But God, who is RICH IN MERCY, because of His great LOVE with which He loves us; yet we were Spiritually Dead, but God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love…

SALVATION IS FOR GOD’S GLORY!

GOD took you and I who were Spiritually Dead, gave us His boundless mercy and love.

IN VERSE 5:

Spiritually speaking here in verse 5, “at your best, you were dead in trespasses.”

Salvation brings Spiritual Life to the Spiritual Dead…

Remember, the POWER that raises the BELIEVER out of death, is the same POWER that brought you to life and it’s the same POWER that energizes every aspect of our Christian living–our circumstances, our trials, our doubts.

ALSO VERSE 6:

When we are SAVED from eternal death, we are raised up together; made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  Your physical body is still on earth, but your spiritual body…you get the picture here I hope.

The tense of “RAISED” and “MADE” indicates that these are immediate and direct results of SALVATION!

Verse 6 says, in the HEAVENLY PLACES in Christ Jesus.  It is the supernatural realm where God reigns.

LIVING IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM:

The SPIRITUAL is as real as the PHYSICAL world–BUT…it is different because it cannot be seen and tested.  Though the body itself is in the PHYSICAL REALM, the life within the body comes from the spirit.  [i] –See footnotes.

The Bible states clearly, we are to REIGN in life through Christ Jesus and… RECEIVING two important things from Him:

1.  The ABUNDANCE of Grace

2.  The GIFT of RIGHTEOUSNESS   (He declared you “righteous” at the Cross).

Worldly Thinking By Man–

Man’s thinking goes like this:  For God to BLESS him/her, he needs to DESERVE, EARN and MERIT God’s favor.  Man thinks that God’s blessings are based on his performance and good works.

God’s Way–

God’s way isn’t about ACHIEVING, but about RECEIVING!  (We are to receive!).

The WORLD’S SYSTEM Regarding SUCCESS in Life–

The SYSTEM is driven into our heads from the time we are children, through the teenage years, and emphasized through our working years.  All built on SELF EFFORT and DILIGENCE.

How many times did my parents advise and direct my paths?  “Quit being a procrastinator…a lazy teenager!”  Continue with your schooling; with the idea of being successful in life.  Now that IS good advice, don’t get me wrong.  However, a stigma can sometimes arise in a impressible child growing up:  “If I keep at this thing…due diligence will lead to my success!”  We can be sometimes find ourselves on the deserted island of “I”  (I did it).

We are driven to “do, do, do,” forgetting that Christianity is actually “done, done, done.”  [ii] See Footnotes.

k5929537The Question of “CHAIRS” and “SITTING DOWN”:

I’m a very visual person when reading and studying God’s Word and the Bible can certainly give us a picture of the believer, resting in finished and completed work of JESUS.

Hebrews 10:12, 14:

[12]  “Whereas this One [Christ], after He had offered a single sacrifice for our sins [that shall avail] for ALL TIME, sat down at the right hand of God.”

[14]  “For by a single offering He has forever completely cleansed and perfected those who are consecrated and made holy.”

VERSE 14 once more–

DECLARING that you were PERFECTED FOREVER!

Our works, self-efforts, will, and can rob us of REIGNING in life by His grace.  You cannot earn your SALVATION, your HEALING, your FINANCIAL breakthrough by your own efforts.

GOD has called the REDEEMED to REIGN!

Revelation 1:6  (Young’s Literal Translation):

6  and did make us kings and priests to his God and Father, to him [is] glory and the power to the ages of the ages!  Amen.

So if that’s you, reach out to Him in your spirit and RECEIVE your DESTINY…your AUTHORITY!  How do you reach out?

YOU PRAY…Lord, your Word is true and I believe it!  I’m tired of trying to be worthy in your eyes and everyone elses.  I was made worthy when your Son’s blood was shed on the Cross for my sins.  I am the REDEEMED in Christ.  I am worthy to RECEIVE the gift of kingship and to receive my destiny.  Have Your Holy Spirit empower me to take dominion over my life.  In JESUS’ Name I pray.  AMEN.

 

Footnotes and Photos:

Photo Inserts:  Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe Courtesy of Starpulse.com and Disney Productions & Foto Search.

[i] – From ChristWords.com–Christ’s words in Ancient Greek.

[ii] – Quote from a Howard Strickland sermon.